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Euthanasia - Human or Animal

+7 votes

Buddhism places a great deal of significance on life and also on the cessation of suffering.

Would you discuss a bit about euthanasia and Buddhism? I know that to kill willingly is very wrong. I am curious as to the teachings about death and suffering when it is on both sides; for example, a human very near death and their suffering family, or a dying animal and their suffering owner.

When, if ever, is euthanasia an alternative to natural death?

asked Aug 9, 2011 in Buddhism by francesg (253 points)  
boy, you're quick... still uploading the video
Yes, I am sorry, i thought it was just the mp3 when I saw it so i wanted to make the reference, then it hit me that you must have had both talks waiting for a video. I didn't know it was still in progress before i posted the link, i was too quick ( :

3 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer
answered Aug 14, 2011 by yuttadhammo (8,823 points)  
edited Aug 14, 2011 by yuttadhammo
Thank you for discussing this subject. I truly appreciate how you mention euthanasia as "to kill," because that's exactly what it is but with a more sophisticated-sounding word. I have not yet had to make this sort of decision, but when discussing euthanasia with friends (usually about beloved pets) I sometimes think it is good (to end suffering) and then other times I think it is bad (from a karmic perspective). Thank you again.
Question for Ven. Yuttadhammo about guilt
+1 vote

No cause is just enough to kill a being. People who do mercy killing have aversion towards what is happening to the sick person and most often than not, they cannot accept reality. The loved ones are probably attached to the sick person which is the proximate cause for experiencing grief. I hope you can understand that love and attachment are not one and the same.

answered Aug 11, 2011 by ramesh (3,244 points)  
0 votes

I have attachment to excellent weather, but I do not have love for it. Yes, I understand what you mean. Thank you for answering the question.

I would like to further qualify my question when pain is the cause of suffering at the end of life, as is so common with terminal illness. No one wants to experience great pain at the end of life, and no one wants to watch another in great pain. To euthanize because of inconvenience or to simply hasten an ugly death would be very wrong in my view.

Perhaps the teachings do not mention euthanasia. I am curious about that.

answered Aug 11, 2011 by francesg (253 points)  

Here is a talk on the matter of assisting terminally ill, I don't know if it touches exactly on the subject of euthanasia but it is certainly explained what we can do.